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Tsarnaev Responsible for 2011 Triple Murder

Report confirms Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s involvement in the murders of Brendan Mess, Rafael Teken, and Erik Weissman

by
Stephanie Butnick
October 23, 2013
Items are placed by people visiting a makeshift memorial for victims near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings at the intersection of Boylston Street and Berkley Street on April 21, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Items are placed by people visiting a makeshift memorial for victims near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings at the intersection of Boylston Street and Berkley Street on April 21, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Newly-filed court papers confirm what we’ve grimly suspected since earlier this spring—that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died while being pursued by police following the bombings, was responsible for the 2011 murders of Brenden Mess, one of Tsarnaev’s sparring partners, as well as two Jewish men, Erik Weissman and Raphael Teken, whose affiliations with the others was unknown.

Ibragim Todashev, 27, who has been identified as an acquaintance of Tsarnaev from their days as mixed martial-arts fighters in Boston, told investigators Tsarnaev participated in the murders of three men found stabbed to death in September 2011 in an apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts, according to the filing.

Todashev, it turns out, was killed by a federal agent after the April bombings, when he suddenly “turned violent while being questioned about possible links to Tsarnaev.”

A New York Times report published in July suggested that had authorities adequately investigated the 2011 murders, in which Tsarnaev was never questioned, they might have caught Tsarnaev before he and his brother Dzokhar, 20, carried out the deadly April attack.

This latest confirmation, which may hopefully provide some semblance of closure for the families of Mess, Weissman, and Teken, ultimately seems tragically too little too late.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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